Posts Tagged ‘organization’

Government Audits: Readiness is Key

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Preparing your company for a government investigation is important as the current administration increases the amount of money and resources allocated to auditing companies from different industries and of various sizes. Although your company might follow correct policies and procedures mandated by the government, communication from a displeased worker or fault-finding town citizen can create cause for an investigator to review your workplace standards.

For some audits, such as an OSHA audit, inspections are conducted without advance warning to the organization, so attentiveness to rules and regulations is vital. Creating an action plan for the possibility of an inspection is critical to avoiding costs, penalties and loss of credibility associated with a bad review. Here are a few tips that are applicable to all audits and will ensure a successful evaluation:

  1. Keep Staff Informed! Even though some audits occur without warning, audits or investigations that are expected should be on everyone’s radar. Managers should be aware of the scope of the audit and when it is slated to take place. Company leadership should also inform employees that cooperating with the auditor is necessary to ensure a smooth review process.
  2. Organize! Organize! Organize! Employee documentation, computer files, financial information and similar records should be neatly arranged and easily accessible for the auditor. Retrieve records kept at off-site locations as well. Organizing documents before the auditor’s arrival will allow you to identify and locate missing or misfiled information. Failure to keep records readily available can result in a slower investigation process or several follow-up visits from the auditor.
  3. Take Interviews Seriously! No matter which type of audit your company encounters, preparing for questions that might arise is crucial. Some report that the initial management interview is the most influential part of the process, because it sets the course for the remainder of the audit. Demonstrating preparation during this component will alert the auditor that your company takes the investigation process seriously. For interviews with employees, allow the auditor to speak with them during work hours to avoid contacting them at home. Although you should avoid explicitly telling your employees what to do during an interview, it is important to make them aware of their rights during the process.

CAI offers an Investigation Survival Webinar Series for more information and tips that apply to audits. The program includes seven 90-minute webinars designed to guide you through various government investigations, including ICE, EEOC, Wage and Hour, and OSHA audits. Led by experienced professionals who have supported many employers through different investigations, the series will help answer any specific questions you have concerning audits. You can take the courses individually, or you can register for all seven and receive a volume discount.

For additional information or to register, please visit www.capital.org and use the search code CISWS.

Photos Source: erix!

Optimizing Efficiency And Productivity In Your Organization

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

In today’s fast-paced business environment, many employers are analyzing office efficiency and productivity, and implementing policies and technologies to improve both. Listed below are 10 policies and procedures designed specifically to maximize office efficiency and productivity. Following these tips can help create a more enjoyable, productive and cost-effective work environment.

  1. Clean desks. Establish a company practice where employees maintain a clean and efficient workspace. Furthermore, schedule monthly cleanups to reduce clutter around the office.
  2. Scheduling tools. Regardless of which office tool you use to track the whereabouts and activities of employees, make certain all employees use it to notify the rest of the team when they are traveling, at a client site, working from home or on vacation.
  3. Wireless capability. Build an infrastructure that allows server and e-mail access wherever an individual may be in the office (e.g., conference room, training room, etc.).
  4. Cell phone options. Encourage employees to share their cell phone numbers with co-workers so they can be contacted when out of the office or traveling. Make sure all employees respect the privacy of their co-workers and keep all shared cell numbers confidential.
  5. Training to share. Train employees in technology that allows and encourages remote sharing of information like SharePoint, Skype, WebEx, Live Meeting or GoToMeeting.
  6. Reservations protocols. Set aside specific meeting spaces that must be “reserved” for use, and communicate to employees how and when to reserve them. Also, if available, designate a smaller room/area for “on demand” meetings that do not need to be reserved.
  7. Concentration indicators. Establish methods for employees to indicate their “unavailability” for meetings, contact or interruptions during times when concentration is paramount. This can be something as simple as a closed door or phone on “do not disturb,” or the use of scheduling tools to carve out a block of time as “busy” or “unavailable.”
  8. Electronic filing standards. Design and implement an efficient electronic filing system to eliminate duplication of information and the administrative time required for manual filing. Centralize printing facilities in strategic locations on the floor to mitigate excessive printing and minimize noise in the open workspace.
  9. Daylight! Research indicates people are more productive when work environments provide an open view to the outside environment. Allow blinds and interior doors to remain open when possible.
  10. Encourage community. Create opportunities where individuals can share their personal experiences or skills. Reserve time in meetings where the agenda allows for personal communication, rather than completely focusing on business.

If you have questions about maximizing productivity and efficiency, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.